Old 12-06-17, 09:31 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 465

Bikes: Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket

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My mechanical issues mostly have been pretty mild.

I experienced broken rear shifter cables twice. As I was running a triple I was only down to three gears after it happened. Since then I learnt my lesson and now replace them annually.

I also had issues with bolts on my SPD shoes, twice. The first time it happen due to an accident. Moving past a queue of cars before a traffic light, I was knocked off the bike when a door suddenly opened as a rear seat passenger decided to get out to get something from the trunk. Fortunately I was not properly doored (i.e. riding into the opening door) but only knocked sideways off the bike. After sorting things out with the driver, I rode on, only to notice a km down the road that one cleat no longer worked. When I had gone down, I must have ripped a bolt out of the shoe and it had gone missing. The cleat was no longer properly secured in place. Without the locking mechanism, my shoe kept slipping off the pedal. I ended up knotting one of my spare tubes around the pedal to turn it into a rubber ball with enough friction to get me through the last 70+ km of the ride.

The second time I had SPD issues, a bolt simply came loose on its own so the cleat remained attached to the pedal when I twisted the foot to uncleat. Fortunately the loose bolt was held in place by the locking mechanism. I simply removed the bolts and reattached everything from scratch with my Allen keys. Now I try to check cleat bolt tension at least once or twice a year.

On a ride with my younger brother on one of his bikes that took us over roads paved with cobble stones, I noticed the rear wheel rubbing against the chain stays when I pushed down on the right pedal. I thought maybe the QR wasn't properly tightened and stopped. Only then did I realize that the left chain stay of the roughly 10 year old aluminium frame had snapped from metal fatigue, probably from the bumpy ride! There was not much we could do but call a relative to come and pick us up by car.

My friend Tim however rode out from Tokyo to Mt Fuji for a ride up to the 5th station hiking trail head and a hike to the peak. Somewhere during the 120 km ride out, one of the cyclists in the group had issues with his carbon frame: A crack had developed in the downtube. Rather than abandon the ride, Tim bought a roll of duct tape at the next convenience store and asked the staff for a couple of pairs of chop sticks. He taped those to the downtube around the crack, like a surgeon setting a broken bone. Apparently they made it all the way to Mt Fuji, hiked to the 3776 m high peak and got back home again. I later saw some pictures of the temporary repair, which has become legendary in the local bike scene
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